Educational concerns and complaints

Types of complaints

There are different ways to complain depending on whether your child:

Schools may not consider complaints about behaviour that happens outside the school’s hours or premises.

Make a complaint

Follow these steps in order. Only move on to the next step if your complaint is not resolved:

  1. follow the school’s complaints procedure - every school in England must have one. It is likely to be published on the school’s website and will take into account the guidance from the Department for Education
  2. complain in writing to the headteacher
  3. complain in writing to the school’s governing body
  4. complain in writing to the head of school improvement at Bexley Council:
    Head of School Improvement
    London Borough of Bexley
    Bexleyheath
    Kent DA6 7AT
    email eis@bexley.gov.uk
  5. Complain to the Department for Education(DfE)

For some types of complaint, you need to contact a different agency. It is recommended that you contact Bexley Council for advice before making contact with the agencies below:

Criminal behaviour - In an emergency always call 999. You should use this service to contact police in situations when you need an immediate response, for example if a crime is in progress or if someone is in immediate danger. If, for any reason you do not want to report antisocial behaviour directly to the police, then contact Bexley Council.

Data protection - If you have a concern about the way an organisation is handling your personal information, then contact Bexley Council or take advice from the Information Commissioners’ Office.

Discrimination - Equality Advisory and Support Services:

Employment - Concerns regarding employment tribunals.

Exam malpractice or maladministration - If you are worried about the administration of National tests taken in Primary schools it is important to discuss this with your child’s headteacher. If you continue to be concerned you may seek advice from the moderation and monitoring team in Bexley Council, please email eis@bexley.gov.uk.

For further information, the Standards and Testing Agency have guidance on their investigation procedures.

For concerns regarding examinations in secondary schools and colleges, please contact the head teacher or principal. For further information, Ofqual and the awarding body may be able to offer advice and guidance.

Quality of education or leadership - Concerns regarding leadership, management or governance should be discussed with the headteacher and if necessary with the chair of the governing body. You may discuss your concerns with the head of school improvement at Bexley Council:

Head of School Improvement
London Borough of Bexley
Bexleyheath
Kent DA6 7AT
email eis@bexley.gov.uk

Serious concerns can be raised with GOV.UK - Ofsted complaints.

Legal advice

You can get free legal advice about schooling and education from Child Law advice.

Complaints about the whole school

You can complain to Ofsted if you think a school isn’t run properly and needs inspecting. They won’t look into problems with individual students, such as exclusions or not getting a place at the school.

You can only complain to Ofsted if you have already followed the school’s complaints procedure.

You should get a response within 30 working days. It will tell you if Ofsted will investigate or not, and why.

Academies and free schools

You can complain to Education Funding Agency (EFA) if:

  • there’s a problem with the school’s complaints procedure
  • the school is not following the terms of its funding agreement

Across Bexley there is a diverse range of schools, settings, colleges and university for just over 60,000 children and young people aged 0-19. Many of our resident children will attend a local Bexley school, as they get older it is not unusual for them to travel further to attend school. This does mean that some young people will leave Bexley to attend school or college and later many will look across the whole of the UK and beyond for a university education.

All children in England between the ages of 5 and 16 are entitled to a free place at a state funded school. In Bexley the choice includes:

  • community schools, controlled by the local council and not influenced by business or religious groups
  • foundation schools and voluntary schools, which have more freedom to change the way they do things than community schools
  • academies, run by a governing body, independent from the local council - they can follow a different curriculum
  • grammar schools, run a foundation body or a trust - they select all or most of their pupils based on academic ability and there is an exam to select the pupils

A description of the different types of schools can be found on GOV.UK - Types of school.

Special schools

Special schools with pupils aged four and older can specialise in one of the four areas of special educational needs:

  • communication and interaction
  • cognition and learning
  • social, emotional and mental health
  • sensory and physical needs

Bexley has four infant schools, four junior schools, 49 primary schools, 14 secondary schools (of which four are selective) – all of which are academies, two All-Through academies, five special schools and one Pupil Referral Unit.

Type of school Number Total students as of October 2016

Primary, junior, infant

57 22,843

Secondary

(of which are selective)

14

(4)

17,830

(5,740)

All-through

2 2,980

Special

5 487

Pupil Referral Unit

1 49

Total

79 44,189

The establishment list can be found at Schools and Academies.